Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Whooping it up

Last week included a historic moment for Whooping Cranes in the Midwest. On June 22, two chicks hatched in the wild at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Necedah, Wis., for the first time in more than 100 years.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/Richard Urbanek

"With the hatching of the first two wild chicks from the migratory whooping crane reintroduction, another chapter in wildlife history has been made. The journey took six long years of dedication, vision and believing it could happen--as well as the blood, sweat and occasional tears of the many partners that worked on the project. This is truly the start of a new generation of wild things...and a symbol for restoring our wild places," said John Christian, co-chair of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.

Four days later, eight chicks arrived at Necedah NWR from the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. The four males and four females will prepare for their fall journey behind ultralight aircraft to Chassahowitzka NWR in Crystal River, Fla.

In addition to WCEP and PWRC, organizations involved in the preparation and journey include Operation Migration, International Crane Foundation and Walt Disney World's Animal Program.

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